Friday, July 10, 2015

Blessing on Obedience

Perhaps the Israelites understood the meaning of these words better than many. Living in the presence of God, under the authority of God, to the glory of God: Coram Deo. They lived in the shadow of the glory of God in the tabernacle. As a nation they were directly accountable to God, for they had no king at first, and the leaders they did have communicated with God. They were commanded to live to the glory of God because they were a chosen nation set-apart for Him: Israel--the nation from which the Christ would be born.

Sometimes we forget that Israel was an obedient nation. They were often wayward and rebellious, but they were also obedient. There was a remnant preserved who always walked by faith. They were the nation who verbally committed to the Lord that they would serve Him and Him only, teaching their future generations to do the same. And from the nation of Israel came many of the righteous men and women that we still look back on today, remembering their dedication, faithfulness, and sacrifice to God.

In the beginning of Numbers, the Israelites assembled to receive instruction from God through Moses before they begin to conquer Canaan. The 12 tribes (excluding the Levites) were arranged, in obedience to the Lord's commands, around the tabernacle. The Levites were given their duties in the tabernacle, and were reminded of their distinction as servants in the Lord's house. After other commands and instructions were given, God instructed Moses to have Aaron, the High Priest, and his sons bless the people for their obedience.
The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them, The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them. (Numbers 6:22-27)
Here, the Lord pronounced blessing on them in the present for their obedience. He also promised to bless them in this way if they continued in their obedience. His presence would shine on them, and watch over them for their good. He would keep them safe, and show kindness to them, and give them peace. His name would be known in Israel, and other nations would know that the Israelites were God's people. Deuteronomy 28:10 confirms this: And all the peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they shall be afraid of you.

Many of the Psalms speak of these same blessings. Psalm 121 describes the Lord as the God who doesn't sleep--continually watching over Israel, preserving them from evil and death. In Psalm 31, David requested that the Lord apply the blessing in Numbers 6 to him personally. Make your face to shine on your servant; save me in your steadfast love! [Psalm 31:16] Psalm 67:1 requests a similar blessing: May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us. 

The principles of these blessings also apply to those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ, as well. Our obedience to the Lord will always be blessed. We, too, live in the presence of the Lord, as the Holy Spirit indwells our hearts, causing us to live under the authority of God, to the glory of God. We're people set-apart, sanctified, and holy for the Lord. He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should walk blamelessly before Him. He promises to preserve us, to protect us, and to give us peace as we walk with Him. And as we live to the glory of God, under the authority of God, and in the presence of God, others will see our lives and will be pointed to the God who saved us and to the Savior who died and rose for us.

2 comments:

  1. Good post. Numbers 6:22-27 is commonly known as the "Beatific Vision", and it is a promise frequently developed in Scripture.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I didn't know it was called that, but I've written it down in my Bible. Thanks for commenting. ;)

      Delete

Please share your thoughts! :)